University of London
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 1985
Leeds, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  •  18
    The Value of Surprise in Science
    Erkenntnis. forthcoming.
    Scientific results are often presented as ‘surprising’ as if that is a good thing. Is it? And if so, why? What is the value of surprise in science? Discussions of surprise in science have been limited, but surprise has been used as a way of defending the epistemic privilege of experiments over simulations. The argument is that while experiments can ‘confound’, simulations can merely surprise (Morgan 2005). Our aim in this paper is to show that the discussion of surprise can be usefully extended …Read more
  • Editorial
    with Michela Massimi
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (4): 691-692. 2011.
  •  9
    Editorial
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (4): 1155-1156. 2020.
    Back in the day, when I was working on my PhD in HPS at Chelsea College, I shared an office with Don Gillies during his time as Editor of the journal. Those were the days of hard copy submissions that would arrive by post and pile up on Don’s desk in brown envelopes, to then be copied again and mailed out to referees. Don would occasionally ask me to look over the physics-based papers, just to check whether they were kosher or crazy, and I had an up-close look at what editing a journal actually …Read more
  •  27
    Imagination in Scientific Practice
    European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (3): 1-19. 2020.
    What is the role of the imagination in scientific practice? Here I focus on the nature and role of invitations to imagine in certain scientific texts as represented by the example of Einstein’s Special Relativity paper from 1905. Drawing on related discussions in aesthetics, I argue, on the one hand, that this role cannot be simply subsumed under ‘supposition’ but that, on the other, concerns about the impact of genre and symbolism can be dealt with, and hence present no obstacle to regarding im…Read more
  •  27
    The view that quantum particles cannot be regarded as individuals was articulated in the early days of the 'quantum revolution' and became so well-entrenched that French and Krause called it 'the Received View'. However it was subsequently shown that quantum statistics is in fact compatible with a metaphysics of particle individuality, subject to certain caveats. As a consequent it has been claim that there exists a kind of underdetermination of the metaphysics by the physics which in turn has b…Read more
  •  15
    The Neglect of Experiment
    Noûs 24 (4): 631-634. 1990.
    What role have experiments played, and should they play, in physics? How does one come to believe rationally in experimental results? The Neglect of Experiment attempts to provide answers to both of these questions. Professor Franklin's approach combines the detailed study of four episodes in the history of twentieth century physics with an examination of some of the philosophical issues involved. The episodes are the discovery of parity nonconservation in the 1950s; the nondiscovery of parity n…Read more
  •  155
    Time and Chance
    Mind 114 (453): 113-116. 2005.
  •  1
    Gerhard Schurz: Philosophy of Science—A Unified Approach: Routledge, Abingdon & New York, 2014, xix + 456 pp, $39,99, ISBN : 978-0-415-82936-6 (review)
    Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 46 (1): 241-243. 2015.
  •  236
    The physics and metaphysics of identity and individuality Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9463-7 Authors Don Howard, Department of Philosophy and Graduate Program in History and Philosophy of Science, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA Bas C. van Fraassen, Philosophy Department, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132, USA Otávio Bueno, Department of Philosophy, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33124, USA Elena Caste…Read more
  • Scientific Realism and the Quantum (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2020.
    Quantum theory explains a hugely diverse array of phenomena in the history of science. But how can the world be the way quantum theory says it is? Fifteen expert scholars consider what the world is like according to quantum physics in this volume and offer illuminating new perspectives on fundamental debates that span physics and philosophy.
  •  174
    Wigner famously referred to the 'unreasonable effectiveness' of mathematics in its application to science. Using Wigner's own application of group theory to nuclear physics. I hope to indicate that this effectiveness can be seen to be not so unreasonable if attention is paid to the various idealising moves undertaken. The overall framework for analysing this relationship between mathematics and physics is that of da Costa's partial structures programme.
  •  217
    he relationship between metaphysics and science has recently become the focus of increased attention. Ladyman and Ross, in particular, have accused even naturalistically inclined metaphysicians of pursuing little more than the philosophy of A-level chemistry and have suggested that analytic metaphysics should simply be discontinued. In contrast, we shall argue, first of all, that even metaphysics that is disengaged from modern science may offer a set of resources that can be appropriated by phil…Read more
  •  237
    Scientific Realism and the Quantum (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2020.
    Quantum theory explains a hugely diverse array of phenomena in the history of science. But how can the world be the way quantum theory says it is? Fifteen expert scholars consider what the world is like according to quantum physics in this volume and offer illuminating new perspectives on fundamental debates that span physics and philosophy.
  •  40
    Defending eliminative structuralism and a whole lot more
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 74 22-29. 2019.
    Ontic structural realism argues that structure is all there is. In (French, 2014) I argued for an ‘eliminativist’ version of this view, according to which the world should be conceived, metaphysically, as structure, and objects, at both the fundamental and ‘everyday’ levels, should be eliminated. This paper is a response to a number of profound concerns that have been raised, such as how we might distinguish between the kind of structure invoked by this view and mathematical structure in general…Read more
  •  43
    Between Factualism and Substantialism: Structuralism as a Third Way
    International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26 (5): 701-721. 2018.
    According to the substantialist, substances should be regarded as the fundamental ontological category. It is substances that are the bearer of properties, that are causally efficacious and that compose the things we see and touch around us. Cumpa has argued that this metaphysics fits poorly with classical physics and Buonomo has extended this argument into the quantum realm. After reviewing their claims, I shall argue that simple reflection on the form of the Standard Model also undermines subs…Read more
  •  1
    _Thinking about Science, Reflecting on Art: Bringing Aesthetics and Philosophy of Science togethe_r is the first book to systematically examine the relationship between the philosophy of science and aesthetics. With contributions from leading figures from both fields this edited collection engages with such questions as: Does representation function in the same way in science and in art? What important characteristic do scientific models share with literary fictions? What is the difference betwe…Read more
  •  4
    Mary Hesse was one of the most significant figures in 20th Century history and philosophy of science, not only because of her academic research, but also for the role she played in further developing and enhancing the field at the institutional level. She was instrumental in the formation of the Division of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Leeds, where she was a lecturer in mathematics, before she moved to University College, London and from there to the Dept. of History an…Read more
  •  67
    Toying with the Toolbox: How Metaphysics Can Still Make a Contribution
    Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 49 (2): 211-230. 2018.
    Current analytic metaphysics has been claimed to be, at best, out of touch with modern physics, at worst, actually in conflict with the latter The continuum companion to the philosophy of science, Continuum, London, 2011; Ladyman and Ross Every thing must go: metaphysics naturalized, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007). While agreeing with some of these claims, it has been suggested that metaphysics may still be of service by providing a kind of ‘toolbox’ of devices that philosophers of scien…Read more
  •  32
    In this paper I begin with a recent challenge to the Semantic Approach and identify an underlying assumption, namely that identity conditions for theories should be provided. Drawing on previous work, I suggest that this demand should be resisted and that the Semantic Approach should be seen as a philosophical device that we may use to represent certain features of scientific practice. Focussing on the partial structures variant of that approach, I then consider a further challenge that arises f…Read more
  •  98
    The Structural Foundations of Quantum Gravity (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2006.
    What is spacetime? General relativity and quantum field theory answer this question in very different ways. This collection of essays by physicists and philosophers looks at the problem of uniting these two most fundamental theories of our world, focusing on the nature of space and time within this new quantum framework, and the kind of metaphysical picture suggested by recent developments in physics and mathematics. This is a book that will inspire further philosophical reflection on recent adv…Read more
  • Da Costa and French explore the consequences of adopting a 'pragmatic' notion of truth in the philosophy of science. Their framework sheds new light on issues to do with belief, theory acceptance, and the realism-antirealism debate, as well as the nature of scientific models and their heuristic development.
  •  12
    Vague identity and quantum non-individuality
    with Alonso Church
    Analysis 55 (1): 20. 1995.
  •  46
    The Law‐Governed Universe – John T. Roberts
    Philosophical Quarterly 61 (245): 872-873. 2011.
  •  22
    Belief and Contradiction
    with Newton C. A. da Costa
    Critica 20 (60): 3-11. 1988.
  •  1
    Good-looking models
    The Philosophers' Magazine 39 62-64. 2007.
  •  64
    Pragmatic Truth and the Logic of Induction
    with Newton C. A. da Costa
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 40 (3): 333-356. 1989.
    We apply the recently elaborated notions of 'pragmatic truth' and 'pragmatic probability' to the problem of the construction of a logic of inductive inference. It is argued that the system outlined here is able to overcome many of the objections usually levelled against such attempts. We claim, furthermore, that our view captures the essentially cumulative nature of science and allows us to explain why it is indeed reasonable to accept and believe in the conclusions reached by inductive inferenc…Read more